WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – An Air Force retiree says he was so young when he joined the Air Force, his mother had to sign for him.
The retired Tech Sgt. said he was inspired since his father and uncles all served our country.
Randy Loy ended up finding far more than a career in the service. He met the love of his life, Carol, at Chanute, but the two couldn’t get married there.
As soon as they got out of tech school, Randy’s mom put together a wedding really quickly and that was just five weeks after they met.
“This was like our graduating class in tech school,” Air Force Retiree Randy Loy said.
Loy worked in Aerospace Ground Equipment.
“We maintained all of the equipment, that is needed by an airplane, while it’s on the ground,” Loy said.
When he looks back, he said one place stands out the most in his mind.
“Desert Storm,” Loy said.
He was stationed in England at the time and said it all started out just like every other military exercise.
He said that was until they stopped in Germany, and they handed him a weapon.
“Nobody gives me, as a flight line mechanic, a gun, that’s when I knew something was serious,” Loy said.
He said they ended up at Taif Air Force Base in Saudi Arabia.
“I could go just about anywhere in Saudi Arabia with that badge,” Loy said.
He said as a member of the Air Force, there were some accommodations or lack thereof that he had to get used to.
“For the first four months, we washed our clothes in trash cans,” Loy said.
He said he’ll never forget the comradery with the men he served with.
That was the best medal, and the most I am proud of,” Loy said.
The medal is from King Fahd, of Saudi Arabia, and he said that was just one place the Air Force introduced him to.
“These pictures were taken in Venice,” Loy said.
He said over the years he got to see so many special places and bases.
“I’ve seen places, that I would have never had the opportunity to see,” Loy said.
He said he also took so many trips to Panama, he was awarded a special ribbon for the time he spent there.
“I enjoyed my time,” Loy said.
Loy said when he first signed up, he had no idea how long he would spend in.
“After 20 years, where did it go, it all happened so fast, it ran together,” Loy said.
“These are all Air Force flags,” Loy said.
He said of all the things and accolades he gathered along the way, this quilt made by his sister means so much to him.
“That was an emotional moment when she gave that to me,” Loy said.
He said to know his family cares about his service, means so much to him.
He said it was also emotional when a current service member handed him an AGE coin.
“This is a challenge coin from the AGE shop,” Loy said.
He said it dates back to his era in the Air Force.
“He says you know this is one of two known to be left in existence, that haven’t been handed out,” Loy said.
He said he returned to McConnell Air Force Base days later to give the man a coin from the Kansas Honor Flight.
“Seeing some of the veterans come back, and there is not a dry eye on any of them,” Loy said.
That’s why Randy and Carol volunteer for the organization, honoring those who served and sacrificed, just like the two of them did for decades in the Air Force.
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